The University's nickname -- Ole Miss -- became part of University 100 years ago, in 1896, when it was selected in a contest held to identify a new student publication, the yearbook. It was suggested by the late Miss Elma Meek of Oxford. Each succeeding issue of the annual has been given this copyrighted identity.
The name gradually became synonymous with the University and is now a treasured segment of University history.
The late Frank E. Everett, Jr., B.A. '32, LLB '34, put it best when he wrote:
There is a valid distinction between The University and Ole Miss even though the separate threads are closely interwoven.
The University is buildings, trees and people. Ole Miss is mood, emotion and personality. One is physical, and the other is spiritual. One is tangible, and the other intangible.
The University is respected, but Ole Miss is loved. The University gives a diploma and regretfully terminates tenure, but one never graduates from Ole Miss.
The name REBELS as Ole Miss' official athletics nickname emerged in 1936. Suggested by Judge Ben Guider of Vicksburg, it was one of five entries submitted to Southern sports writers for final selection from a list totaling more than 200 proposed nicknames. The promotion was a contest sponsored by The Mississippian, student newspaper. Of the 42 newsmen contacted, 21 responded. "Rebels" was the choice of 18. The University Athletic Committee made the name official with the Committee chairman, the late Judge William Hemingway, stating: "If 18 sports writers wish to use 'Rebels', I shall not rebel, so let it go 'Ole Miss Rebels.'"
A student-led initiative to find a new on-field mascot for the Ole Miss Rebels athletics teams concluded with the announcement of a black bear named Rebel on October 14, 2010. The selection of Rebel followed an eight-month process that was based on input from the entire Ole Miss community. It began when students at Ole Miss voted 3-to-1 in favor of a student-led process for selecting a new on field mascot. A committee of 17 Ole Miss students led the charge, which included 33 initial focus groups, more than 1,000 mascot suggestions and two online polls that each garnered more than 13,000 votes from students, faculty, staff, alumni and season ticket holders. Rebel made his first public appearance April 5, 2011 at Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children in Jackson, Miss.
Red & Blue
In 1893, when Ole Miss' first football team was in training for a five-game season, Dr. A.L. Bondurant, organizer and manager-coach, later recalled that "The team had much discussion as to the colors that should be adopted, but it was finally suggested by the manager that the union of the Crimson of Harvard and the Navy Blue of Yale would be very harmonious, and that it was well to have the spirit of both of these good colleges." These were adopted as the football colors, and have since been adopted by the University as its athletic colors. The PMS numbers for the Ole Miss red and blue are as follows: Red 186, Blue 2767.